By Jano Tantongco
The U.S. Department of Justice recently awarded the Suffolk County Police Department with the 2017 National Officers Safety Award for its Medical Crisis Action Team (MEDCAT) program.
The award, presented by the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund and the DOJ’s Valor Initiative, highlights programs that augment police officer safety. Accepting the award was Coyne and MedCAT Sgt. Colleen Cooney-Tsante at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington D.C. two weeks ago.
The Suffolk program is headed by SCPD Chief Surgeon and Medical Director Dr. Scott Coyne. Partly inspired by the Sept. 11 terror attacks, Coyne created MedCAT in 2008 as a tactical medical team of police officers who are trained as advanced life support paramedics and critical care EMTs.
Since then, it’s grown to 28 police officers and police supervisors from every precinct and various specialized commands, who must have advanced life support (ALS) certification at either the paramedic or EMT-critical care level.
“The Suffolk County Police Department is deeply honored to receive this national recognition of our department’s training programs enabling our police officers to provide quality emergency medical care which not only enhances officer safety but also the safety and well-being of all our residents,” Police Commissioner Timothy Sini said. “We are also most grateful to Dr. Coyne and our MedCAT Team for their skillful delivery of lifesaving medical care to our police officers at critical incidents, an asset which cannot be overstated during these times.”
SCPD also requires all officers receive EMT certification as part of their academy training.
Last year, Coyne was also honored by the New York State Department of Health and the New York State EMS Council as this year’s Physician of Excellence for New York State EMS. In Suffolk, he also received the REMSCO 2015 EMS Physician of Excellence Award.
“This prestigious national award is a truly impressive achievement for our department which has continuously supported our very unique medical training programs and field operations,” Coyne stated. “Most importantly, it recognizes the dedication and excellence of our academy training staff, our police officers, and specifically the members of the MedCAT team who together are responsible for saving countless lives each year.”